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I almost never book a room in those giant, all-inclusive, beachfront resorts due to them being very expensive on Booking.com and other hotel websites. But this got me thinking - perhaps I'm doing it wrong and there's a cheaper way? I.e. maybe I should be looking for some sort of flight+resort deals from travel agencies instead of just booking directly?

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    Did you compare the all inclusive price with the price of a hotel room and all meals plus all drinks for the (local) restaurant and bar prices? If you use the bar quite a bit those all inclusive prices do compete, often at least.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 7 at 6:41
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    Go way in the off season to some cheapish country and some slightly out of the way resort; let’s say Vietnam in winter. Still nice, but with some luck you can find resorts at bargain prices.
    – deceze
    Commented Jan 7 at 7:46
  • agreed, i got all inclusive overwater bungalows in New Caledonia for 1/10th the Bora Bora price Commented Jan 7 at 14:28
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    @Willeke - going out for food often is less convenient and time consuming as you would need to walk/travel somewhere around, wait to be seated, wait to order, wait to be served and wait to pay. I travelled recently in such way and my family did not like it as it took us extra couple hours every day.
    – Mykola
    Commented Jan 7 at 21:08
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    @deceze You can book off-season resorts easily on Booking.com though, the OP is asking if there's other ways to get cheap rates. Commented Jan 8 at 1:00

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Historically, the best way to get steep discounts on resorts (all-inclusive or otherwise) is to book a package tour that bundles flights and hotel together. Typically the way this works is that a travel agency books a large chunk of rooms at the resort at a steep discount, which the resort is OK with because they're pretty much guaranteed to fill the place and still get paid even if the agency can't sell them all.

However, the Internet and low-cost carriers have shaken things up: now you can easily compare and book hotels instead of calling around, and fly cheaply instead relying on travel agency charters. Brick and mortar agencies do still exist, but they've lost a lot of their pricing edge, and you can buy packages from online agencies too (here's Booking/Agoda), but the savings aren't that great. And the very best hotels have never aimed for mass market package tourism, the customers they want don't pinch pennies.

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    The big package holiday companies like TUI aren't agencies as such: they may own the hotel and the airline, but they may also use low cost carriers and block-book rooms at hotels owned by others. The key is to align your travel with their key markets: eg northern Europe to Mediterranean. You might find a cheap deal from Manchester to Sharm el Sheikh but you won't find one from New Orleans. Commented Jan 7 at 16:18

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